Irredeemable #16


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Irredeemable #16


  • Words: Mark Waid
  • Art: Peter Krause, Dan Panosan (variant cover B)
  • Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
  • Publisher: BOOM! Studios
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Aug 4, 2010

If Irredeemable #15 was a book of consequences, issue #16 by Mark Waid is one of picking up the pieces in the aftermath and trying to come to terms with death, loss, and grieving.   Irredeemable is a consistently strong book and #16 reaffirms not only why Waid received several Eisner nominations for his work, but also proves Waid's strengths in the team format environment of the series.

Irredeemable #16 is nicely organized around short vignettes where each surviving member of the Paradigm reflects upon the Plutonian's rampages and the shattered remnants of the team and their families.  Bookended by a focus on Kaidan and Qubit, Irredeemable #16 begins with an examination of Gilgamos' regret over losing Bette as well as his inability to function in daily human activities despite his lengthy age and life experience.  From there, Waid turns his attention briefly to Survivor, whose own frustration over Qubit's involvement with the magic bullet has been channeled into an open assault against a top United States military compound housing nuclear weapons.  In some ways, Survivor's actions are manipulated by Qubit, who may in fact fear his own ability to control Survivor's rampage as well as the potential for further team losses. 

Although Bette only appears within Gilgamos' recollections, the majority of the issue is spent on the dynamics between Kaidan and Qubit versus the Plutonian and Samsara.  Distraught over the death of Volt, Kaidan is mourning in the graveyard when Qubit arrives to console her.  Through Kaidan's memories, audiences learn of other significant Paradigm battles, something Waid has hinted at since the book's inception.  This larger, unexplored world of Irredeemable is one of the book's greatest assets as fans grow more curious about these exploits with each issue.  Once again, as with the bullet in the previous issue and with Survivor in this installment, Qubit proves himself a somewhat deceptive yet powerful character in his ability to orchestrate Kaidan's recollections to better the situation of Paradigm against the Plutonian without her expressed knowledge or consent.  This is a very innovative sequence because readers may learn more about the Irredeemable universe and its past characters without the need of additional mini-series or spin-off titles, which is a welcomed and calculated move on Waid's behalf.

This sinister and malevolent atmosphere Waid creates with Samsara and the Plutonian in this issue is something that regular series followers can only hope makes its way into Waid's sister book, Incorruptible.  As Qubit controls the members of Paradigm, so too does Samsara wield a similar ability over the Plutonian but with much more disastrous effects.   Audiences know very little of Modeus, but through Samsara's actions glimpses are revealed.  Furthermore, the Plutonian's rigid answers to the father's pleas for help to assist his family are so brutal yet so natural that the character's shift to evil is completely believable.  This is an aspect that has yet to be addressed as well or explored as smoothly in Incorruptible with Max Damage's reverse transformation.  Yet, Waid also shows that the Plutonian's transition may not be fully complete as Samsara teases a possible redemption for the destruction of Sky City. 

One of the features of team books is that some characters inevitably get more "air time" than others and thus fans can connect more and celebrate their favorites.  Once again, Waid defies formula with Irredeemable and has discovered a way to make every single member of Paradigm important and receive the necessary spotlight.   While part of it may be due to the fact that these characters are so new that timely cynicism has not yet had the opportunity to set in, Waid's abilities as a storyteller and craftsman cannot be denied or overlooked.  The result is a monthly book that delivers every time.

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